Rejuvenation is already underway

Melinda McMullin has an opinion piece in the Newcastle Herald.

I LEFT Newcastle 16 years ago and this year returned to a city which was barely recognisable, not only in terms of its transforming cityscape but its political landscape as well.

In a short span of time two Liberal members of Parliament would stand down, and a mayor would resign amid admissions of illegal donations made, and  handed over  in  envelopes.At the heart of the scandal was a desire by some to breathe life back into the CBD but  how some key decisions were made became the subject of  parliamentary inquiry chaired by Reverend Fred Nile.

With the truncation of the rail now so close, the people of Newcastle deserve to have their questions answered before the rail, which has served the people of this city for 156 years, is cut on December 26.

…All we have been given is a drawing of an oversized carport which will become the Wickham Transport Interchange for a light rail service which is still years away.

How can we – the residents, the taxpayers, the ratepayers, the electorate – be able to make an informed assessment about whether the truncation of the rail will be good for the city when the information which would allow us to do so has not been released?

How do we weigh up the pros and cons of the loss of seamless transport into the heart of the city against the potential benefits of opening up more land for development when the cost-benefit analysis and scoping studies on the impact of the truncation of the rail line remain secret documents?

As a mother of three young children, I have learned when one of my kids is holding something behind their back and shaking their head and telling me I am not allowed to see it, it usually means the object in their possession is something they fear might get them into trouble.

Call me cynical, but I wonder whether there just might be something in those documents the government does not want Novocastrians to know.

When there are so many questions still unanswered about the process, and still so much distrust within the community, the truncation of the rail line on December 26 should not proceed.

The idea the CBD will never again come alive without the truncation of the rail line, without 17-storey buildings and without millions of dollars pumped in by those who hope to benefit, does not add up.

Rejuvenation is already happening.

Read the full article in the Newcastle Herald.